to the e.p.a.: arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, cadmium, and other toxic metals. you know, some people say that this is a poisoned meadow. >> i guess that's, you know, one way to describe it. it just doesn't belong here. it needs to come out. >> leo francendese is an environmental mr. fix-it. he was sent by the e.p.a. to clean up this mess. >> and in the wrong circumstances, coal ash is dangerous. breathing it, that's dangerous. >> the summer heat can bake the ash into a fine, talc-like powder that can wreak havoc on your lungs. and this is all coal ash right along here. so while the government has never formally labeled coal ash a hazardous waste, it's being treated as such here. is that all coal ash? >> yeah. >> as we left the site, we were scrubbed clean, as was our car. oh, my goodness. look at this. is it--every car that goes through the site goes through this? >> comes through this. >> gary topmiller lives right on the river. he had a front-row seat when the spill covered his dock. >> now, what the doctors did tell me was, "get out of there." and i said, "i don't have anyplace to go.